SINGAPORE, May 16 (Reuters) - London copper fell to a four-month low on Wednesday, extending losses to a fourth consecutive session after the political crisis in Greece deepened when Athens announced that it would hold a second round of elections.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange dropped 0.6 percent to a four-month low of $7,712 per tonne, before paring some losses to $7,739.75 by 0100 GMT.
The most-traded August copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 0.8 percent to 55,490 yuan ($8,800) per tonne, near a four-month low of 55,280 yuan hit in the previous session.
News that Greece will hold a second election after political leaders failed to form a coalition government added to uncertainty about its future, compounding investor worries about the possibility of Greece's exit from the euro zone.
Germany pulled the euro zone economy back from the brink of recession at the start of 2012, but stagnation in France and contraction in southern Europe has underlined the sharply differing fortunes in a bloc labouring under the effects of austerity.
NYSE Euronext is out of the race to buy the London Metal Exchange, a spokesman said on Tuesday, after its reported 800 million pound (US$1.28 billion) bid was deemed too low.
The head of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold said on Tuesday that although copper markets were weaker than last year, an expected jump in Chinese consumption should boost investment to find new reserves.
Copper prices will be strong this year and the red metal's market fundamentals remain solid, but volatile price fluctuations are likely, Chile state copper giant Codelco's Chief Financial Officer Thomas Keller said on Tuesday.
Sales at U.S. retailers barely rose in April as the boost from an unseasonably warm winter faded, pointing to some loss of momentum in consumer spending early in the second quarter.
U.S. stocks fell for an eighth session in the past 10 on Tuesday as uncertainty stemming from the political stalemate in Greece gave investors another reason for caution and sellers came out in force late in the session.
The euro wallowed near a four-month trough against the dollar hit in the previous session and the dollar index rose to the highest level since mid-January.
0900 EZ Inflation, final yy Apr
0900 EZ Eurostat trade nsa, EUR Mar
1230 U.S. Build permits: change mm Apr
1230 U.S. House starts mm: change Apr
1230 U.S. Housing starts number mm Apr
1315 U.S. Industrial output mm Apr
2350 Japan GDP qq annualised Q1
India M3 Money Supply
Base metals prices at 0100 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct Move YTD pct chg
LME Cu 7739.75 -20.25 -0.26 1.84
SHFE CU FUT AUG2 55490 -460 -0.82 0.23
HG COPPER JUL2 350.25 -1.50 -0.43 1.94
LME Alum 2024.25 -0.75 -0.04 0.21
SHFE AL FUT AUG2 15985 -25 -0.16 0.88
LME Zinc 1922.00 -12.00 -0.62 4.17
SHFE ZN FUT AUG2 14975 -50 -0.33 1.22
LME Nickel 16950.00 -45.00 -0.26 -9.41
LME Lead 2012.00 3.50 +0.17 -1.13
SHFE PB FUT 0.00 -15520.00 -100.00 -100.00
LME Tin 19900.00 90.00 +0.45 3.65
LME/Shanghai arb^ 1719
Shanghai and COMEX contracts show most active months
^ LME 3-month copper in yuan, including 17 pct VAT, minus SHFE third month
($1 = 6.3182 Chinese yuan)